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PopWrapped | Science

Hawaii Observatory Discovers Galaxy Made Of 99.9% Dark Matter

Matt Lawrence | PopWrapped Author

Matt Lawrence

Updated 09/9/2016 1:38pm
Hawaii Observatory Discovers Galaxy Made Of 99.9% Dark Matter | Galaxy
Media Courtesy of Hubble Site

On August 25 in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, at the W. M. Keck Observatory, an international team of astronomers published  a huge scientific breakthrough in regard to our perception of how space operates. After a study of a recently found galaxy, scientists discovered that it was composed of 99.99% dark matter.

A scientific anomaly until recently, dark matter has been found to comprise roughly 68% of all the known universe. Einstein, himself, theorized that empty space was not simply a void but that new space could come into existence. Since this new energy become part of the universe, the cosmos would expand -- as would this new space.

Many theories speculate on what exactly dark matter is. All that is certain is the lack of visibility. According to NASA's website, per a model of known observations of the universe combined with a theoretical composition of the universe: their breakdown is 68% dark energy, 27% dark matter, 5% normal matter.

To measure the Dragonfly 44 Galaxy that has eluded scientists for decades, they used the DEIMOS  instrument to study stars that would eventually clue them in to the galaxy's mass. 

What they found was that the galaxy was close to the size of our Milky Way galaxy but that 99.99% of it was comprised of dark matter.

“Ultimately what we really want to learn is what dark matter is," Pieter van Dokkum, one of the authors of the findings, said in an article from the Keck Observatory website. "The race is on to find massive dark galaxies that are even closer to us than Dragonfly 44, so we can look for feeble signals that may reveal a dark matter particle.”

“Motions of the stars tell you how much matter there is, van Dokkum said. “They don’t care what form the matter is, they just tell you that it’s there. In the Dragonfly galaxy, stars move very fast. So there was a huge discrepancy: using Keck Observatory, we found many times more mass indicated by the motions of the stars, than there is mass in the stars themselves.”

Shany Danieli, Allison Merritt, and Lamiya Mowla of Yale; Jean Brodie of the University of California Observatories; Charlie Conroy of Harvard; Aaron Romanowsky of San Jose State University; and Jielai Zhang of the University of Toronto made up the rest of the group, along with van Dokkum, who collaborated on the findings.

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